LEWISBURG — The Tri-County North and Twin Valley South football teams clashed on Friday, Oct. 21, in an annual rivalry game for the Cat Trophy. North rode to a 22-12 win on the efforts of running back Tanner Booth, extending its streak of consecutive wins against its West Alexandria rivals to seven.
The first quarter started off with both teams able to move the ball on offense, but failing to reach the end zone. North began its first drive with a hurry up, no huddle offense but was forced to punt. South took the ball for its opening drive, but suffered a sack by North’s Wyatt Hutchins, forcing a punt.
South had the next possession, which carried over into the second quarter, but Twin Valley quarterback Mike Meyers threw an interception to Chandler Sproles. North was able to take advantage of the turnover with a drive which ended with Tanner Booth running for an 8-yard touchdown. A pass from Bo Hendrickson to Booth for the 2-point conversion succeeded for an 8-0 lead into halftime.
South had the ball first in the second half, but couldn’t move the ball enough, forcing them to punt. On the following drive, North’s Gavin Overholtz ran to the left side and dove for the pylon to give North a 14-yard touchdown run. The extra point kick was good, and North was up 15-0.
But the lead was in jeopardy, as South finally reached the end zone on a 34-yard pass to Cade Cottingim who broke several tackles on his way for the touchdown. South scored again in the fourth quarter when Jared Cottingim caught a 9-yard pass to bring the score to 15-12. With only 1:42 left in the game, Booth scored a 21-yard touchdown run up the middle of the defense to put the game away, 22-12.
“Our kids played hard and I’m proud of them,” South coach Clint Bartlett said. “You can’t say enough about this rivalry game and it was true-to-form tonight. Both teams played hard and I give credit to (North coach Bill) Derringer, his staff and his kids. We kept fighting and never gave up. Booth is by far one of the best backs if not the best in this conference. We have a number of good backs but he’s really good. If he wants to play at the collegiate level, he’s going to have a good career.”
“We closed their lead down to just three points but we just couldn’t pull it off,” Bartlett added.
“We have Miami East coming up, but it will be senior night for us,” he said. “I hope we can come out and play our best game so we can finish the season on a high note.”
Derringer knows the rivalry well, having played and coached in several of the games.
“We talk a lot about the rivalry and hanging on to the Cat Trophy,” North Coach Bill Derringer said.
“There were things we made that were big mistakes but our boys came through in the end,” Derringer said. “There were times were the game came down to the line and I told my kids if you want to win this, we better do it now and we got it done. It worked out for us.”
“We had Booth as a guard for three years and we didn’t have some kids come out, so we put him into fullback and he has worked out for us,” Derringer said. “He’s a special running back.”
Derringer also complimented his offensive line.
“I think the offensive line did a good job, South tried to pack the box to stop the running game. We had a great week of practice and our guys always get excited for this game,” Derringer said.
“We had a few letdowns defensively, but all in all our guys did their jobs and we are able to match up physically with just about anyone. We eliminated one of their better players and were concerned about their passing game but we got it done,” he said.
“We have to work hard on making sure we can lock down the passing defense,” Derringer said. “It would be a tremendous long shot for us to make the playoffs but we will just try to play well so we can finish well.”
Tri-County North sports a 5-4 record and is 5-3 in the Cross County Conference, while Twin Valley South is 3-6 overall and 3-4 in the conference. Both teams will close out the regular season this Friday, Oct. 28, with North traveling to National Trail, and South hosting Miami East.
Reach Oliver Sanders at 937-683-4062 or on Twitter @osanders_RH